The title of this carefully worded book is calculatedly ambiguous: the subject is both the grand strategy of a China "on the rise" and the need for the United States to "rise to the challenge" of ensuring peaceful relations between the two powers. Goldstein has given a great deal of thought to how the anti-Soviet near alliance of China and the United States during the Cold War almost drifted into another cold war after the Soviet collapse. He makes a convincing case that U.S. policymakers were right to turn to a "hybrid" policy of combining "engagement" and "containment" -- what he calls "congagement." The bulk of the book, however, is a detailed explication of China's grand strategy and the motivations and concerns behind that strategy. He is convinced that China's leaders are genuinely interested in executing a "peaceful rise" to great-power status, but he explains that they must also make their neighbors and the United States believe that China will have the ability to fight major wars if necessary. The Chinese are thus involved in a balancing act: showing strength while maintaining the tranquility crucial to continued economic growth.
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